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Congress Allows Military to Use CBD Products

As of Monday, July 19, Congress passed a measure allowing military service members to use CBD.

According to Marijuana Moment, the House of Representatives approved an amendment allowing troops to use products containing hemp, including CBD and its derivatives.

While the bill still needs to go through the Senate, the measure passed by a landslide vote of 336 to 71 in an en block package, which includes dozens of other non-cannabis amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill, sponsored by Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is also a military veteran and an advocate for the hemp industry, stipulates that the “Secretary of Defense may not prohibit, on the basis of a product containing hemp or any ingredient derived from hemp, the possession, use, or consumption of such product by a member of the Armed Forces.”

It also states that as long as the crop meets federal guidelines then “such possession, use, or consumption is in compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local law.”

The amendment also includes a measure that was approved by Congress back in early July granting heads of military branches permission to issue reenlistment waivers to service members who admit to using marijuana, or have been convicted of a misdemeanor offense, once.

Gabbard, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has spearheaded this initiative as well as others in the past year.

In 2019, Gabbard introduced a bill named the “Hemp for Victory Act” to help modernize the hemp industry. The bill was designed to develop specific guidelines and encourage federal research to help find and introduce new ways hemp can be integrated in everyday life.

The hemp studies would mandate research into every possible area of investigation from the use of hemp in different food products in public schools to the potential value of hemp to help veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the ability of using hemp to clear contaminants from nuclear sites.

However, various military branches have issued statements in recent months prohibiting the use of non-intoxicating cannabis products despite a federal legalization of CBD under the 2018 Farm Bill.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) announced a new policy in February barring all active and reserve duty members from using any hemp products, including CBD.

"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

A little-noticed memo from the DOD's announcement briefly acknowledged that hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, but said the risk of exposure to products that contained too much THC was far too great.

Under Secretary of Defense Matthew Donovan said, “These legal changes and the resulting introduction of hemp products containing up to 0.3 percent THC in the marketplace create a serious risk to the viability of the military drug testing program for a number of reasons.”

Gabbard directly addresses these CBD policy conflicts in the newly approved amendment.

Meanwhile, other medicinal alternatives are being explored by research groups throughout the country.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advance Researched Projects Agency (DARPA) partnered with the University of North Carolina last month to research the medicinal uses of psychedelics.

The study focuses on finding “new medications to effectively and rapidly treat depression, anxiety, and substance abuse without major side effects.”

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